You are yelling at your partner that you have to go in five minutes while fumbling around in the kitchen attempting to whip up a quick snack for the kids.
Your phone flashes to indicate that your mother is phoning at the same time that the babysitter’s doorbell rings. As you turn to hastily enter the front door, you grab your phone from the side and answer it.
You unintentionally stomped on your kitty friend out of haste. A loud meow is suddenly followed by a string of angry vocalisations from multiple people as well as the cat!
Naturally, accidents do occur, especially when we lead busy lives and our furry family members prefer to hang out at our feet rather than at eye level.
But, if your cat literally gets under your feet, how do you know if they’re injured or need veterinary help?
1. Check If Your Cat Is Okay
If you’ve accidentally stepped on your cat, the chances are that they’ll be fine, albeit a bit shocked and put out. However, injuries can occur if you’re unlucky, and the severity will depend on what body part you stepped on and how much weight you applied before you realized it.
Therefore, checking your cat quickly for signs of any problems is essential. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:
2. Check its movement
If your cat is limping, they might just have some bruising, soreness, or a broken nail. However, if they continue to limp and won’t put any weight on that leg, there’s likely a fracture. If they’re dragging their back legs, this could also indicate some broken bones, but they might also have damage to their nerves or spine.
If they’re struggling to move at all, this could mean a serious injury, including broken bones, damaged nerves, or an internal injury.
3. Check their Breathing
It’s normal for your cat to be a bit shocked if you step on them. So, their breathing may get faster for a little while. However, if your feline friend’s breathing doesn’t settle, if it’s shallow or gaspy with more effort than usual, this could indicate damage to the lungs, a diaphragmatic hernia, or an internal bleed. It could also indicate pain, especially if there are broken bones or internal damage.
4. Check their Behavior
Your cat might want to find a hiding place after any period of trauma or fright, which can be expected. But, if your cat seems confused and disorientated, less responsive, or fails to return to their regular routine, this could be a sign of a more severe injury, especially if there was trauma to their head.
Watch out for whether they are eating from their food dish, drinking from their water bowl, and using their litter box as normal.
5. Check their Normal Tail Position
A cat’s instincts tell them to run from danger, so if you step on them, they’ll try to get away if they can. Sadly, if you tread on their tail and they try to run, it doesn’t just risk damaging your cat’s nails. It can also cause a tail-pull injury. This is when the bones separate at the base of the tail, and the nerves become damaged.
If your cat has a tail-pull injury or another tail injury, you might notice their tail is hanging limp, and they’re unable to move it. Tail-pull injuries can also make it difficult for your cat to pee and poop, so it’s worth checking their litter box habits are normal.
6. Check Their Gums
Your cat’s gums should usually be salmon pink. Pale pink or white gums could indicate internal bleeding or shock, so you should get out the cat carrier and seek urgent veterinary advice.
7. Are They Able to Urinate
Stepping on your cat could rupture their bladder, meaning that urine leaks into their abdomen. On the other hand, traumatic nerve damage can also affect your cat’s ability to pass urine. Therefore, it’s best to keep an eye on their litter tray antics to ensure they’re okay.
Visit The Veterinarian
If your cat is unresponsive, has pale gums, is in breathing distress, or cannot move, you should call your veterinarian immediately for an emergency appointment. Similarly, if they have any other symptoms that could indicate an internal injury, such as vomiting or not passing urine, they need to see a vet.
If your cat cannot put any weight on one or more of their paws after 30 minutes, or if they cannot move their tail, you should also speak to your veterinarian urgently. On the other hand, if your cat is breathing normally and moving normally but seems anxious and is hiding more, they may just need more time to get over the trauma.
If you’re unsure whether your furry friend needs a veterinarian, there’s no harm in calling one of the local veterinary offices for guidance. No doubt your veterinary surgery won’t mind the phone calls because they want to help to keep your pet safe.